Patrick Henry: “Liberty or Death” Speech

(1775)

About the Author

Patrick Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia, on May 29, 1736, and died in Charlotte County, Virginia, on June 6, 1799. Coming from a family of moderate means, Henry first worked in a country store and then as a farmer. Then he read law—a common practice in the eighteenth century before the establishment of law schools—and was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1760. He soon established a formidable reputation in the courtroom based on his electrifying addresses to juries. One of Henry's early court cases challenged the English Crown's authority to overturn a law...

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A drawing depicting Patrick Henry delivering his famous speech (Library of Congress)

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